The real Trump doesn’t come to the Conservative Political Action Conference until Sunday, February 28, 2021, but golden Trump arrived two days early.
The statue was the topic of conversation at CPAC – a national gathering of conservative activists – and it sparked media buzz, some negative. “This golden statue of Trump at CPAC is a perfect metaphor for the state of the GOP,” Vox wrote, comparing the golden Trump to the Biblical Golden Calf, which was a warning against idolatry.
Heavy.com spoke with the man who made the golden Trump statue. He insists it’s a statue, not an idol. Tom Zegan is a California-born commercial artist and website designer who lives in Mexico and is a Trump supporter who hopes Trump runs again in 2024.
CPAC kicked off on day one in Orlando, Florida, with a slate of speakers who included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump Jr. The former president speaks on Sunday at a conference that is, to some degree, a referendum on whether he will be the conservative movement’s standard-bearer going forward. A straw poll was conducted to test attendees’ views on that question; the results will be available on Sunday, February 28, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Artist Created Golden Trump as a Reaction to Naked & Baby Trump Artwork
Zegan said he made the golden Trump statue “about three years ago when they had all the naked Trump” artwork, as well as “Trump on a toilet seat, baby Trump.” He said he was appalled by those things and said, “That’s the best you can do?” He called those renditions “senseless.”
Zegan had just finished making a Brett Favre statue that is now in the Mississippi Hall of Fame, so he decided to make one of Trump.
He said that the statue is made out of a fiberglass mold. The statue at CPAC was the mold. There is another version made of stainless steel that Zegan hopes will end up at the Trump library.
“There’s one more I’m making right now that will really piss people off,” he said. “It’s bronze, and it’s going to be 24-karat gold.” He wants to auction it off with the proceeds going to the Trump library.
Zegan Insists Golden Trump Is Not an Idol
According to Zegan, the golden Trump statue is 200 pounds. It’s not really gold; it’s chrome.
He said the statue has “all kinds of symbolism.”
“The fact he’s wearing a suit-and-tie shows he’s a businessman. The red tie represents that he’s a Republican. The shorts show he’s patriotic. The sandals mean he should be retired, living out the golden years on the beach. He’s got a wand in his hand, which symbolizes what Obama said, ‘How are you going to bring all these jobs; have you got some kind of magic wand?'”
He said the statue carries the U.S. Constitution in the right hand to show Trump follows it.
Another attendee observed the statue’s hands look like boxing gloves, symbolizing that Trump is “fighting for America,” said Zegan, but he didn’t build that symbolism in purposely.
“A lot of thought went into it,” he said. He said Trump was sent a video of the statue for his birthday. Zegan also took golden Trump to rallies in Florida and Oklahoma.
He acknowledged that some people “have said, ‘Oh, it’s the Golden Calf, golden idol.”
Zegan said he answered one woman who raised that claim by asking, “Are you going to bow down and worship it?” When she said no, he responded, “Then it’s a statue.” (At CPAC, one man did bow down before the statue for photographs as an apparent joke.)
Zegan said his parents were missionaries, and he was a church youth pastor for years. “I am very familiar with the differences between an idol and a statue. This is not an idol,” he said.
What’s the difference?
“One of them you make sacrifices to, you bow down to it, you pray to it – that’s an idol,” said Zegan. “A statue is like a memorial… of somebody who is famous.”
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